LOUISVILLE CARDINALS (2-0, 1-0) vs. INDIANA HOOSIERS (1-1, 0-1)
Game Time: Noon
Location: Lucas Oil Stadium: Indianapolis, Ind.
Television: Big Ten Network
Announcers: Connor Onion (play-by-play), Brock Vereen (analyst) and Megan McKeown (reporter)
Favorite: Louisville by 10
All-Time Series: Indiana leads, 2-0
Last Meeting: Indiana won 21-0 on Sept. 13, 1986 in Bloomington
Louisville Depth Chart:
Excitement Level: 8.1
Regional “rival,” first Saturday game of the year, NFL stadium, looking to go 3-0 for the first time since Lamar’s Heisman season. Might be a couple of notches hire if my poor baby boy didn’t have a nasty case of Hand-Foot-Mouth.
Game Attire: Louisville football ringer tee under red Louisville football sweatshirt
Going back to the combination that led us to victory in the second half against Georgia Tech.
Pregame Meal: Two eggs, two Trader Joe’s peanut butter/chocolate breakfast bars
Breakfast of champions.
Bold Prediction: Brock Travelstead goes 3-for-3 on field goals for the second time in third games
Time to get off the snide here.
T.J. Capers Playing Alert Level: Mulberry (very, very low)
The segment is still pointless since Capers is still sidelined, but I’m not changing it until we lose.
Predicted Star of the Game: T.J. Quinn
The Cardinal defense wins the day, and T.J. Quinn leads the way.
Indiana football has had some significant ups and downs over the last handful of years and the main source of the “downs” has been struggles on offense. IU lost Kellen DeBoer as an offensive coordinator after the 2019 season and that loss has led to some real uncertainty with Tom Allen’s job. While DeBoer is leading the Washington program to a potential playoff berth, Allen is on his second coordinator in four years.
Allen did get a major coup in the off season when Tayven Jackson decided to come home as a transfer and join IU. Jackson is one of the best quarterback recruits from the state of Indiana in the last handful of years and after spending a year at Tennessee, he decided to hit the portal.
Jackson is the likely starter for this game though he has split time in the first two games of the season. Jackson looked very good against Indiana State as a passer which was probably the only thing holding him back from being named the starter this fall. Jackson is a competent runner but I would compare him to a C.J. Stroud or Bryce Young in the way that he will work to throw from the pocket and run only when he has to. However, the IU offense has some option aspects this year and Jackson has looked good running it. I was extremely impressed by his touch on the ball down the field as well as how he timed his throws on short routes.
Brendan Sorsby will be the likely backup on Saturday but I wouldn’t be surprised if Louisville saw him at some point in the game. Sorsby started the opener against Ohio State and looked good as a passer. The issue for Sorsby is that Jackson is just more dynamic as a player. Sorbsby can run the full offense but I haven’t seen anything from him that would make me worry about him as a runner. But, IU would be in good shape if he needed to play.
The Hoosier running backs are the group that impressed me the most over their first two games. Jaylin Lucas is one of the quickest and fastest running backs in the country and IU uses him in a variety of ways but they don’t shy away from running the 5-9/170 back between the tackles. Lucas is very good at finding a small space to slink through and once he does he can take off on a defense. He will be a huge factor in the run game, especially as an option guy when they run those plays.
Josh Henderson could be the starter on Saturday as IU rotates backs pretty regularly. Henderson is a tough runner with good size and the ability to get first downs as he falls forward and avoids direct tackles very well. Henderson is the guy that worries me the most over the full game because he runs so tough. He also had a good game catching the ball out of the backfield last week.
Ohio State mostly put the clamps on the IU receivers in week one but they were able to show their talents against Indiana State last week. Omar Cooper leads the team in catches and yards after a 7/101/1 performance last week but Cam Camper is the top target on the team. Dequese Carter and E.J. Williams will also be a factor in the passing game. One thing about this group of receivers is that they are big. They have big catch radiuses and they also do well shedding tacklers after the catch. UofL will have to be strong on the outside when they go to bring these guys down.
Indiana’s offensive line has done a solid job opening holes for the running game but they haven’t shown me enough on runs outside the tackle. The option plays are more reliant on speed and decision making but nothing works if your line doesn’t give you true options. From a pass protection standpoint, IU has done well to protect the quarterbacks. Jackson was able to stand tall in the pocket at times and deliver the ball with no disruption. UofL could have a tough time getting pressure with no blitz as Ohio State did.
Tom Allen’s background is on the defensive side of the ball and if there is one thing that’s been fairly consistent, it has been his defense. IU hasn’t been stocked with a lot of NFL talent but Allen gets his defenses to play extremely hard and they play as a team. That hasn’t changed this year with the team coming off of a defensive shutout against Indiana State and an impressive performance against Ohio State two weeks ago.
Everything starts up front with defensive end Andre Carter. The transfer from Western Michigan has been on a tear with two tackles for loss in their first two games. He also had a sack last week. Carter is a perfect fit for this defense because his motor is insane. He chases down plays but he also gets off the line with a purpose. On the opposite side, Lannel Carr has had a strong start to the season after transferring in from West Virginia where he was a part-time starter.
Transfers make up the entirety of the IU front four is made up of transfers. Ole Miss transfer LeDerrius Cox and Texas Tech transfer Philip Blidi man the two interior spots in this 4-2-5 scheme. Both are 295-305 pounds and they move well for their size. Neither has been overly productive so far but IU’s linebackers have been able to run free and make plays because of the play of these two.
The star of the defense is Aaron Casey. The middle linebacker led the team in tackles last year and also put up double-digit tackles for loss. He is off to a similar start this season with 18 tackles and a tackle for loss. I think it’s fair to say that Casey will be one of the top 3-4 linebackers UofL will see this season and his ability to make plays at the line of scrimmage. Per PFF, he is tied for 8th in the country in “stops” which constitutes plays where the offense “fails”. He is a player that can cause some issues for the Louisville offense.
Defensive back is a strong spot for IU as they bring back some production as well as mixing in some transfers. Stanford tranfer Nick Toomer impressed me with his physical play early in the season and I think he could be a factor in run support. Noah Pierre is also a solid player as a nickel. The veteran slot corner can play the ball well but also does a good job in run support and defending quick screens.
The top player so far this season has been Phillip Dunnam. The Miami native has 14 tackles and a pick on the season and he flies around on defense. Louisville has abused safeties in the pass game as well as the run game. Dunnam will be a key player, in my opinion, as he has shown that he can play as a complete safety. UofL may be able to scheme some things to confuse the young safety as this will be his third start in his true sophomore season.
—This marks the first time in Louisville football history that the Cards are playing multiple neutral site games in the same regular season. U of L opened 2023 with a win over Georgia Tech at Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
—Louisville is 16-15-1 all-time in neutral-site contests.
—Indiana is 1-1 all-time in games played at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Hoosiers lost to Ball State inside the stadium in 2011, and defeated the Cardinal there in 2019.
—Louisville will play a Big Ten opponent this weekend for the first time since defeating Jeff Brohm’s Purdue team 35-28 in Lucas Oil Stadium to the open up the 2017 season. The Cards are 12-20-1 all-time against teams from the Big Ten.
—Indiana is 7-18 all-time in games played inside NFL stadiums.
—Louisville enters Saturday’s game ranked No. 4 in the country in total offense.
—Indiana’s defense is ranked 15th nationally through two games.
—Louisville has totaled 1,164 yards of total offense in the first two games of the season, an average of 582.0 yards per game. It’s the best two-game total to open the season since 2016 when Louisville averaged 754.0 yards per game.
—Louisville is 2-0 to start a season for the first time since 2017, and is looking for its first 3-0 start since 2016.
—After splitting time between two signal callers through the season’s first two weeks, Indiana has named redshirt freshman Tayven Jackson as its starting quarterback for the Louisville game. Jackson was 18-of-21 through the air and accounted for 245 yards of total offense in IU’s win over Indiana State last week.
—Jeff Brohm is 4-2 all-time in games against Indiana. Brohm went 4-1 against the Hoosiers during his time at arch-rival Purdue, and lost a 38-35 contest against IU during his stint at Western Kentucky.
—Louisville is a 10-point favorite in this game according to DraftKings Sportsbook. The Cardinals have won eight of their last 10 games when favored, including both games this season.
—Louisville has won five of its last six non-conference games.
—In 10 years as a head coach, Jeff Brohm is 22-13 in non-conference games.
—Louisville is 146-106-6 all-time during the month of September.
—Louisville has won 29 games in a row when holding teams to less than 300 yards of offense. The Cards held Murray State to 166 yards of offense last week.
—Since 2019, Louisville is 22-4 when winning the turnover battle, and just 3-18 when losing it. The Cardinals have won the turnover battle in both games so far this season.
—Since 2018, Louisville is 8-0 when scoring 40-49 points, and 4-0 when scoring 50 or more.
—Louisville is currently riding a consecutive game scoring streak that spans 289 games dating back to a 31-0 loss to Florida State during the 2000 season. The streak ranks as the second longest in the ACC behind only Virginia Tech, and the 10th-longest nationally.
—Louisville is 199-14 all-time when scoring 35 or more points in a game. The Cards are also 6-121 all-time when allowing opponents to score 40 or more points.
—“I have a lot of respect for Indiana, coach Allen and his football team. You’ve got to put the work in to win at a high level in the Big Ten at Indiana and Purdue. I understand that. Coach Allen loves the game. He has great passion for his players. We’ve got to go up there and win the football game.” —Jeff Brohm
—“They got our attention without question. We’re going to have to play our very best football on offense to be able to move the ball and score points.” —Indiana head coach Tom Allen
—“We do us.” —Indiana D-Line coach Paul Randolph on how to slow down Louisville’s rushing attack
—”We’re far from satisfied. You haven’t seen the best of Indiana defense yet.” —Indiana DL Marcus Burris Jr.
—”Indiana is playing good football and Coach (Tom) Allen has done a good job. Definitely played tough on defense. That’s always been a strength of theirs. The Ohio State game was probably one of the Buckeyes’ most unproductive days in a long time. So they’re playing really, really good right now on defense.” —Jeff Brohm
Card Chronicle Prediction: Louisville 23, Indiana 20
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.